Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

For the seventh year in a row, Alabama Power has teamed up with Go Build Alabama to organize camps for high school girls to introduce them to careers in construction and the skilled trades.  The Girls CAN Construction Camps team industry professionals with girls who have just completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grade for a week of hands-on training in fields such as electrical wiring, carpentry, welding, and computer drafting and design.  The purpose of these camps is to inspire young women to consider pursuing careers in these much-needed professions which have been traditionally filled by men.   Read more » about Girls CAN Construction Camp [VIDEO]

A huge challenge in matching qualified candidates with jobs as craft professionals revolves around misconceptions about exactly what’s required of someone seeking such a career. People will say things to themselves like “well, I don’t have any experience” or “I have a felony on my record” and so those folks won’t even apply. Many people also think women have no place in construction, which is absolutely untrue.

As it turns out, neither lack of experience nor a criminal history will prevent the right person from obtaining a well-paying job as a craft professional. Oh, and women are some of the best candidates for certain jobs in construction because they demonstrate better attention to detail and have more patience than men in many instances, according to industry experts.    Read more » about Breaking Down the Myths of Working as a Craft Professional

As Industrial Hygiene and Safety Professionals, we introduced the idea of viewing safety through a performance-based looking glass and the value it brings by increasing our sphere of influence across the multiple organizational disciplines.  Safety should not be viewed as an “add in” or even a “priority” because priorities change based upon inputs and conditions.  The same can be said about statements such as “Safety is our number one goal” since goals change as well.  Most in our profession will agree with the premise that “safety must be a value” for lasting success and remain a constant regardless of the inputs and conditions.  How can we be successful in creating the culture and mindset needed to drive this value statement?

   Read more » about Viewing Safety through a Performance Based Looking Glass: Part 2 of 2

The construction industry unemployment rate has officially surpassed the national unemployment rate. Between April 2014 and April 2015, nearly 300,000 jobs have been created in the construction industry, and the construction industry unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2006. April of this year alone brought in more jobs than “any other industry except professional/business services and healthcare.”

The numbers were better than what the construction industry was anticipating. In March, 9,000 jobs were lost, a little under 8,000 jobs just in the nonresidential building field. Researchers believe the small slump was due to the inclement weather seen across the United States during that time.

The strongest numbers came from residential building. Read more » about Construction Employment Helps Fuel Economy

A New York Times report this week digs into why construction deaths have been rising in New York. The numbers are unfortunate and they underscore the need for better-trained craft professionals on jobsites in NYC and all around the world. From the report:

"Eight people have died in construction-related accidents this year, according to the city’s Buildings Department, as many as in all of 2014; the year before, three died. Not since 2008, during the height of the last building boom, has the number of construction accidents been so high, when a rash of episodes, including two falling cranes, claimed 19 lives.

The number of accidents has also been on the rise, with 231 in 2014, up 24 percent from the year before. (Accident figures for 2015 were unavailable.)"   Read more » about NYT reports that construction deaths are on the rise in New York City

As we’ve been telling you on Construction Citizen, the ABC Houston Industrial Committee is hard at work figuring out the absolute best way forward for construction training. The committee has come up with recommendations for the full ABC Houston Board and we’d like to share some of them with you.

The committee agreed at a recent meeting that we’ll know success has been reached when we have a coordinated pathway for construction training and available projects can be completed locally within project goals on a sustained basis by identifying and partnering with existing resources.    Read more » about Setting a Successful Course for Training in the Skilled Trades

The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned today after being re-elected in the midst of an unprecedented scandal over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Scandal is not new to the global scene, nor is the seedy underbelly of the construction industry in the countries where major facilities are needed to host the games. In this case, there are five stadiums being built for Qatar 2022, but recently, amid the scandal, the underbelly of global construction has once again been exposed in an investigative report by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

In a recent article by ABC, the kafala system of forced labor, “kin to slave labor” even though the world’s richest per capita country, “is spending $260 billion building the stadiums, public transport systems, freeways, hotels and apartments to stage the tournament.”    Read more » about Scandal and Slum Conditions in Qatar for 2022 Games

As Safety Professionals, we are dedicated to the protection of people, property and the environment.  Our success is often measured in the amount of human suffering we prevent as we chart OSHA rates for recordable injuries, lost work day cases or cases of restricted work activity.  We attempt to quantify our success as we compare past results against current performance.  If the needle trends downward, we pat ourselves on the back, notify management and tout the success of our safety efforts.  We become singular in focus as if the success or failure of our organization is predicated on this sole outcome.  This type of thinking causes us to be pigeon holed in our world, many times, outside of the heartbeat of the organization and its leadership.  We are brought into the Board room to report on a certain situation and promptly escorted out once our information and expertise is no longer needed.  It is a sad reality that this is how a large majority of safety professionals operate.  If this is how you operate, the question becomes, “why should I change and if I do, how do I change?”

To address the question of “why should I change,” I challenge you to view safety through a performance based looking glass.  As safety professionals, much of our time is spent on research of standards and creating policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable governmental standards.  This methodology breeds a compliance or prescriptive based approach that restricts our influence throughout an organization.   Read more » about Viewing Safety through a Performance Based Looking Glass: Part 1 of 2